We have analyzed five microsatellite loci from the nonrecombining portion of the human Y chromosome in 15 diverse human populations to evaluate their usefulness in the reconstruction of human evolution and early male migrations. The results show that, in general, most populations have the same set of the most frequent alleles at these loci. Hypothetical ancestral haplotypes, reconstructed on the basis of these alleles and their close derivatives, are shared by multiple populations across racial and geographical boundaries. A network of the observed haplotypes is characterized by a lack of clustering of geographically proximal populations. In spite of this, few distinct clusters of closely related populations emerged in the network, which are associated with population-specific alleles. A tree based on allele frequencies also shows similar results. Lack of haplotypic structure associated with the presumed ancestral haplotypes consisting of individuals from almost all populations indicate a recent common ancestry and/or extensive male migration during human evolutionary history. The convergent nature of microsatellite mutation confounds population relationships. Optimum resolution of Y chromosome evolution will require the use of additional microsatellite loci and diallelic genetic markers with lower mutation rates.
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